sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

Archive for the ‘Mary’s Expression’ Category

Summer Reading Book Bingo

Summer is here! With kids out of school, it’s important to keep them reading. I love summer reading programs, and summer reading challenges. Our library always has a program, for both children and adults, with the ability to earn a free book and entries into prize drawings. For kids, there are also challenges through Barnes and Noble, Pottery Barn, and other places. I’m not going to list them all, but here’s another blog that has shared 10 Summer Reading Programs. My son used to do multiple challenges, but since becoming a teenager his options drastically reduced. He’s still signed up with the library program, but I wanted to give him another opportunity.

Thanks to Pinterest, I learned about book bingo. What a fun way to reward kids not just for reading, but different genres and places and other categories. Here are some that I found:

Scholastic Summer Reading Bingo – requires signing up for the site, but it’s free

A cute template to create your own categories

Genre Bingo!

Literary Genres bingo

My personal goal this year was to get my son to branch out in genres. He usually reads fantasy, with some adventure and sci-fi mixed in. I wasn’t happy with the genre sheets I was finding, liking elements from some here and some there. So I made my own list, used a list randomizer, and made our own. I wasn’t able to come up with 25 genres (especially since I knew he was not wanting romance or horror), so I filled in a couple with other categories such as book published year you are born, Utah author, new release. In addition to diversifying his reading, this also helps him learn to use the library better: where to find different genres, how to ask a librarian for help, use of the online catalog, etc.

We started after school got out, so have been working on them for a month now. I am awarding a treat or small prize for a bingo, and a book of his choice for a full blackout (all spaces filled). I am participating in it as well, more for the challenge than prizes. 25 books in 13 weeks is a lot of reading, but doable. We are running the challenge until school starts. At that point, he can no longer earn bingos, but can still work toward blackout.

Here’s the link to it on Google Drive if you would like to use it (or copy and modify): Book Bingo

Celebrating National Library Week

This week is National Library Week. This year I can say that I not only frequent the library, I work in one. I worked in a library right after high school, and always wanted to get back to one. Goal finally achieved. I am a shelver at Taylorsville Library. I am really enjoying my coworkers and the library itself. And I come home with a lot of books. So it’s a good thing I work at a library, not a bookstore. It’s wonderful being surrounded with books, working with books. And I get to help people on a topic I am passionate about, not some generic customer service that drains me.

Here are a few of my poems that express what the library means to me.

Brink of Chaos
The Great Escape
Gateways
Haven

 

My Second Home

The library was my first love
perfect for a book-a-holic,
no budget could sustain my obsession.

A sacred space filled with treasures;
fingers trail on book spines…
so many choices
each one a new adventure–
Do I read an author tried and true?
or experience something new?

Some days I come
not for the books
but the atmosphere.

Sit back in an armchair
wrapped in hushed air,
soak in the rich love of words
infused between these walls,
let it inspire me…
flow through my fingertips
to fill the pages of my notebook.

My Letter to the World: A Poem and a Prompt

Whether just starting as a poet, or well-experienced, you can learn by imitation. Choose a poem by another poet, classic or modern, and write a poem in the same style. There’s a few ways you could approach this:

  • Write a poem as a direct response to the subject.
  • Write your own poem inspired by the topic.
  • Follow the poetry form only.

Here’s an example of one of my early poems. I personalized Emily Dickinson’s “This is My Letter to the World.” I kept it in a similar style, and thought: What would I say to the world?

To: The World; From: Mary

My Letter to the World

What do I have to say to the world
That all but deserted me?
Would anyone listen to a single soul
Through the unheard art of poetry?

Although surrounded by others,
Wanting my voice to be heard,
I’m often isolated
For no one will hear my words.

Can I make a difference in someone’s life,
As others did in mine?
Will anyone read the simple words
That I wrote in my spare time?

I may be a shy, quiet person
But I have a message of my own;
Won’t someone come and discover
The soul within my poems.

The message of my poem remains true today. I want my voice, my poems, to be heard. I’d love it if you shared your own poem based on the prompt.

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POEMBALL Machine

Publishing update! An unconventional way to (possibly) get my poems.

In Provo, Utah, you can visit Enliten Bakery and Café and get poetry for a quarter. Put together by Provo Poetry, you can put a quarter into a re-purposed gumball machine, the POEMBALL machine, and get a capsule with a poem by a local poet.

They also have a portable machine at Happy Valley Farmers Market, and will be having a third machine soon at Pioneer Book.

And now there is a chance that one of those poems could be mine! Three of my poems were accepted for the project, and each will be printed at least five times. So if you ever stop by Provo, stop in at Enliten Bakery and Café and take a chance. Be inspired.

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More Poetry News

Snapdragon logoI have also been submitting poetry, and my poem “Seeking that which is Lost” is in Snapdragon Journal‘s Summer issue “Journey”.  You can get an annual subscription, or purchase the individual issue. Snapdragon Journal’s mission is to use creativity as a way to process and express the healing journey. The issue is a powerful, beautiful compilation and I am so proud to be a part of it. I have often used poetry as therapy, so I know its power and celebrate what they are accomplishing. I hope you check them out.

 

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I am a Poet

*This is a repost from my personal blog: marywjensen.blogspot.com

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I’d like to share with you some quotes that really echo how I feel about poetry.

What is poetry?

“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.”
–Edgar Allan Poe

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”
–Carl Sandburg

Who is the poet?

“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”
–W. H. Auden

Poets don’t publish for the recognition or the money. We do it because we want to connect with the world, with other people. To share human experience and emotion.

“Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose-petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.”
–Don Marquis

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”
–T.S. Eliot

“Poetry is a language in which man explores his own amazement.”
–Christopher Fry

And, above all else:

“Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves.
What humans can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature.”
–Abraham Maslow

I am a Poet
A genius in disguise
Forms flow from my fingertips
Words and phrases grow within me
Waiting for ripeness
That moment when I write them
And another poem is born
Mary Butterfly Signature

Dancing into a New Year

Some people have a tradition of choosing a word, or a theme, to focus on or represent their new year rather than (or in addition to) traditional resolutions. It’s not something I’ve done in the past, but as the last year drew to a close there was one word that really resonated with me. A word that represents what I want to bring forth in the world, and project from myself.
What does this word mean to me?

Dance is energy, movement, joy. There is rhythm and flow. Words dancing across the page, fingers dancing across the keys. Being fit in body. Not falling stale and still. Not caring what others think. You can dance alone, or with a partner. If you dance with a partner, there must be a connection, and coordination. It doesn’t work if your steps are not aligned. Pick your partners carefully, in love and in business and in life.

How dance relates to my goals:

  • Words dancing across the page, regular writing with the goal of finishing another novel.
  • Poems compiled into a new chapbook, focusing on the theme of dance and music.
  • Collaboration with my fellow Muselings on new projects.
  • Losing weight and drinking more water, doing yoga, to be fit in body, have more energy and grace.
  • Play the piano more frequently.

Do you choose a theme for the year? What are some of your goals, resolutions, or energies for 2015?

Mary Butterfly Signature

 

 

 

 

Together Again

thanksgivingNovember always brings to mind family. It’s the month of my birthday, as well as Thanksgiving. So even on years where I don’t visit with family, they are still close to my thoughts and heart.

I come from a big family. I have eight siblings! And as much as I love them, love being around them, as an introvert I’ve always had to step aside and recharge a bit. Being in the thick of things can be overwhelming and draining. You’ll often find me on the outskirts, listening in on conversations but not always jumping in.

This poem was written for the Together Again prompt earlier this month from Poetic Asides.

Reunion

Over food and games
Siblings catch up on the news,
their familiar chatter
carries down the hall…

I smile,
comforted by their nearness,
content for the moment
to reunite with another friend;

I kick off my shoes, sit at the bench,
sigh at the familiar curve
of the pedal pressed beneath my foot,
the ivory beneath my fingers.

My hands fall into the patterns
despite months of time apart–
All else fades away
as I embrace the music.

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Supporting Literacy

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend Fox Hills Elementary’s Literacy Night as a local poet. There was a nice variety of writers represented. The poet, the short story and article writer, the picture book author/illustrator, and the YA fantasy author. Also attending was the children’s librarian from our local library.

On my table, I set up a tri-fold board with a sign identifying me as a poet, as well as Chiaroscuro book cover and some sample poems, a few poems for kids, and my certificate for first place poetry from a local contest. For handouts, I had my Stego Stomp poem printed on fun paper for the kids, and postcards about Chiaroscuro for the parents.

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poetry tri-fold

There was a big turnout. I enjoyed the excitement about books in the air. The kids who stopped and took time to read my poem all enjoyed it. It was a big hit. One boy is even going to have his mom hang it on his bedroom wall. One goal of poetry is to share and create enjoyment, and I feel I succeeded.

chiaroscuro-postcards
There was even some genuine interest in my poetry book. One mom admitted she hasn’t read a poem since she was a teenager. Hopefully I encouraged her to revisit poetry. 

I ran out of the dino poem handout with about half hour left of the night, but even without it kids and parents were still reading poems from my board. What a great feeling hearing others read and enjoy my poems.

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Tell Your Own Story

I’m sure we’ve all gone through thoughts that we’re not good enough, that someone else could do it better.

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I was going through one of these phases: any other writer could tell this story better. Then I remembered my conclusion when I put myself down as a bad parent.

Even though I’m not the best mom, I don’t want anyone else raising my kid, because I know him best.

As a writer, my characters deserve the same. I may not be the best writer, but I know my story and characters and no one can tell their story the way I can.

One of my favorite fantasy authors, Patrick Rothfuss, responded to a commenter who wished they could write like him. I wrote this verbatim into my bliss book so I’d always have a reminder when I start comparing myself to other authors.

“I’ll never be able to write a book like The Last Unicorn. I wish I could, but I know I can’t.

You can’t write the sort of story I write. Only I can.

We all have our own style. Our own way. Our own something we need to say.

If you want to write like me, you’re bound to fail. What you want to do is write your story, but do it brilliantly. Do it so well that it shines.

But it takes time. And revision. And depression. And work. And then more work…

I’ve been there. I know what you’re talking about.”

We are all unique. We each have a story to tell. Whether we tell that through our blogs, or poetry, or fiction, or in a different medium such as film or art. We can all contribute to the world. When we stop contributing, we do the world a disservice.

Keep on Going on

You are you.
No one can replace you;
No one can love
the way you do.

You’re not just one star
in the universe;
You are someone’s sun–
They would be adrift
if your light went out.

Don’t give up your dreams—
your success, your creations, your journey,
may change someone else’s life.

Keep on going on.

(Content previously posted on personal blog.)

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